A WELL KNOWN Kirkcaldy jazz musician is set to make a special appearance on television programme ‘Songs of Praise’ this Sunday.
Richard Michael (62), who is also the organist at Abbotshall Parish Church, will perform in the second of three episodes of the BBC show featuring Fife.
The freelance musician was approached by producers three months ago after they contacted Rosemary Frew, church minister, to see if she knew of anyone with a story to tell and she immediately thought of her organist.
Rev. Frew said: “I put Richard forward because not only is he our church organist, he is also a visiting jazz professor at St Andrews University and a man of faith at the end of the day.
‘‘He is such a gifted musician and we are very fortunate to have him. He is very busy as he travels the country teaching and performing but he always puts Abbotshall first. Having a musician of that calibre lifts worship.”
Richard was asked to improvise on some of the music he plays on a Sunday morning, including work by classical composer Bach and jazz musician Fats Waller.
The programme also features him working with students at St Andrews University.
He said: “It was a fantastic experience. I feel very strongly that the church is open to all kinds of music whether that be performing music by Bach or Mozart to jazz by Fats Waller.
“When the minister talks about a subject in her sermon, I then find a tune to illustrate it - for example she recently spoke about joy and the Midas touch and I played the Bond theme ‘Goldfinger’ during the offerings. I just enjoy seeing people leave church with a smile on their face.”
Richard is also set to play at this month’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He will showcase ‘The History of Jazz Piano’ at St Mark’s artSpace, 7 Castle Terrace, on Friday, August 19 and 26 at 7.30 p.m.
He will also perform ‘The Great American Songbook’ at the same venue on August 16-18.
In this special show Richard will perform with his daughter, Hilary (who plays sax and piano) and his nephew, Paul (bass).
l Songs Of Praise, BBC1, Sunday, 5.30 p.m.